The Digital Storytelling Lab at Columbia University has released its annual “Digital Dozen,” a ranking of the most inventive examples of digitally assisted storytelling. This award program, unlike others, does not have categories, so it was an eclectic mix of XR, immersive theatre, and interactive installations, with some NFTs, tossed in for good measure. However, the Breakthroughs in Storytelling Awards, as they’re officially titled, are typically full of surprises, and this year was no different.
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The DSL’s top accolade, the 2022 Breakthrough Award was secured by “Life After BOB: The Chalice Study,” a narrative animation by New York-based artist Ian Cheng that premiered last June at Luma Arles, a new art park in the south of France. Rather than being a traditional film or video, “Life After BOB” is created using the Unity game engine, which means it is created from scratch each time it is seen. This also means that viewers can engage with it by touching on elements with their phones to explore Cheng’s universe.